Mountaineering is an activity that requires extensive planning, constant focus, extended periods of high effort, and generally pushes those climbing towards their mental and physical limits. These attributes are what makes mountaineering so challenging and potentially dangerous, but are also the reasons it can be so rewarding. It is often this balance between risk and reward that attracts and motivates climbers. If not, climbers are at least aware of this fine balance.
Compared to many other outdoor pursuits, mountaineering is a bit more complicated in terms of preparation. Mountaineers climbing the same peak could be carrying very different gear, may plan on totally different time scales, and may prefer different weather depending on the route they chose. In general, the knowledge and experience required for a successful mountaineering trip can not be easily summarised on a website such as this. That is why MSC encourages those wishing to get into mountaineering to get the skills required by learning from professional providers, trusted friends, or family members.
Most experienced mountaineers will tell you that it is a life-long journey to fine-tune this craft. It is important to pick objectives that are appropriate for your experience level as you advance. Picking partners you can trust that share your goals and have a similar risk tolerance will put you in a better position to succeed but more importantly make it home to plan the next mission.
Mountaineering is a high-risk outdoor activity that takes careful planning, training and constant focus on the day.
You should have enough training and practical experience before going on your own trip. There are plenty of ways to get started on building your skill set.
Go when the timing is right
Choose a trip that aligns with your skills, the group's ability, the current conditions, and the expected weather. Discuss, agree on and employ suitable travel options/modes in terrain where falling is possible and could result in serious consequences. Pay particular attention to moderate terrain where typically mountaineers would travel un-roped.
Only go if the conditions are suitable. You should regularly check these leading up to your trip and make a decision on the day. You should also be assessing conditions during your trip and be prepared to turn back or move to plan B if conditions aren't right.
Avalanche Rescue Equipment
Learn more about these items in our video.
On your trip
Employ strategies for identifying and managing fatigue. Ensure this is considered as part of any pre-trip planning and pay this element the due respect it deserves during your trip. Allow time for adequate breaks to rest and take on food/water. Most importantly ensure the culture surrounding your trip allows for topics such as fatigue management to be part of your conversations and communication.
Continue to check the conditions and be self-aware along the way. You can always turn back.
Continue your preparation with our online resources, there is still plenty to learn to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip!